Tea leaves Britons wanting more of India

13th Feb 2014

British tourists who arrive in India pining for a cuppa can rest assured in the knowledge that tea is at least as big an institution there.

India is a leading manufacturer of tea, with Coorg in the south of the country a prime example.

It's surprising for many tea tourists visiting such sites to see how much manual work, including leave-shearing, goes into making a humble cup of tea in these technologically advanced times. One woman even requires two strapping men to help her lift an 80kg sack on to the scale.

But tourists visiting the Glenlorna Tea Estate, in the heart of Coorg, swiftly find the old ways are the best.

The fresh aroma of tea can be pleasantly overwhelming as holidaymakers on group tours walk from room to room in the factory.

That's because here the tea leaves are dried, grounded and filtered ready for auction.

Staff work eight hours a day picking leaves in an all-year-round process.

Production is largely restricted to the north of India because the weather is better.

But the importance of tea to Indian culture abounds whichever part of the country tourists explore, leaving many Britons wanting more of the country.

Gautam Prakash, head of Plantation Trails at Tata Coffee Limited, said: "Tea is a part of Indian life. It's part of every meal."

Indians favour the spicy Masala Chai tea. But there are a variety of tea flavours to satisfy a traveller's cravings during Indian afternoon high tea at the 125-year-old Taj West End Hotel during city breaks to Bangalore.

Drinking tea is a hugely social event in India and nowhere is this more evident than in the vibrant metropolis of Mumbai.

Each street corner is laced with long-established Parsi cafes where families, friends, couples and businessmen come to enjoy an inexpensive meal washed down with tea.

Copyright Press Association 2014

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